Hurricane Maria Upgraded to CAT 2, Aims at Puerto Rico

The Caribbean is still picking up the pieces from Irma, and now residents are having to scramble again as Hurricane Maria was upgraded to Category 2 over the weekend.

What’s worse is that it’s projected to hit Cat 3 or 4 this week as it barrels toward Puerto Rico following roughly the same path as Irma.

The Pentagon has already ordered the evacuation of troops from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

If Maria moves slightly north, there’s a possibility that Miami won’t be able to dodge a direct as it did with Irma when the storm moved west at the last moment.

This summer’s storms are already the costliest on record.

Maria threatens to push the impact to the costliest collection of natural disasters, period.

Here’s more from Newsmax…

Hurricane Maria strengthened into a Category 2 storm on Monday and pushed toward the Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean, as forecasters warned it was expected to become a major hurricane by early Tuesday.

The storm was on a path that would take it near many of the islands already wrecked by Hurricane Irma and then on toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Maria could hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, said Ernesto Morales with the U.S. National Weather Service in San Juan.

“This storm promises to be catastrophic for our island,” he said. “All of Puerto Rico will experience hurricane force winds.”

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Maria had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kph) Monday morning. It was centered about 120 miles (195 kilometers) east-southeast of Dominica — or 85 miles (135 kilometers) east of Martinique — and heading west-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).

Hurricane warnings were posted for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Martinique and St. Lucia. A tropical storm warning was issued for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.

Forecasters said hurricane conditions should begin to affect parts of the Leeward Islands by Monday night, with storm surge raising water levels by 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) near the storm’s center. The storm was predicted to bring 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain across the islands, with more in isolated areas.

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